I love Chinese food and for some reason it’s been very hard to find good Chinese food in Brazil. To be honest the best I have had in Rio so far tasted like the worst delivery I ever had in New York (not a good thing); that was until I discovered Restaurante Primeira Pá at the Chinese Cultural Association in Tijuca. It is a little tricky to get to (which is why there is a map on the back of their business cards). As you can see from above, you enter through the parking lot.
The space itself is pretty big but as you can see below, the decor is very basic, not much on the walls, the chairs are light yellow with big bows on the back (looks like they came straight out of a cheesy 80’s movie) and in the center of each round table is a lazy susan (amazing! my kind of place). Each table sits between 6-8 people and the portions are pretty big so for those of you who don’t normally share and order your own dish (you know who you are) you will have to get over it here (ha! Learn your lesson- it is made to be shared) so this is a great place to go with a group.
Primeira Pa is so authentic that the waiters barely speak or understand Portuguese, you are better off with English (ha!) and the menu is in both English and Chinese. They have all your traditional sauces from sweet and sour to plumb but for some reason the duck sauce we know and love in the states is no where to be found in Brazil (which is why I bring it back from the states with me- shhh). So if you like duck sauce, the closest you will find in Rio is a pink more sweet/sour sauce then duck. Speaking of duck….
You need to pre-order the peking duck (the house specialty) at least 2 days in advance and believe me it is worth it! It is incredible, cooked to perfection and is comes with little pancakes, scallions, cucumber and a special sauce. To be completely honestly it was better and much cheaper then Mr Lam. I also was a huge fan of the broccoli, it is steamed with very light flavoring and is absolutely fantastic- a must to your order! The other starters that I would recommend are the pork buns, egg-rolls, dumplings and goyza. FYI the soups are enormous! For the vegetarians out there- you are in luck! Primeira Pa is one of the few places you will find a number of tofu variations and vegetable dishes so its a place for everyone:)
Restaurante Primeira Pá at the Chinese Cultural Association, Gonçalves Crespo R 450 Tijuca
They Deliver too! (21) 2293-2653 (they deliver)